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ADDRESSES 



INAUGURATION OF CHARLES WILLIAM ELIOT AS 
PRESIDENT OF HARVARD COLLEGE, 



Tuesday, Oct. 19, 1869. 



I 



ADDRESSES 



AT THE INAUGUKATION OF 



CHARLES WILLIAM ELIOT 



PRESIDENT OF HARVARD COLLEGE, 



Tuesday, October 19, 1869. 




/ 



CAMBRIDGE : 
SEVER AND FRANCIS, 

BOOKSELLERS TO THE UJS^IVEESITY. 

1869. 



CAMBRIDGE : 
PRESS OF JOHN WILSON AND SON. 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE. 



The office of President of Harvard College became 
vacant on the lOtli of September, 1868, by the resignation 
of Thomas Hill, D.D. On the 12th of March, 1869, Charles 
William Ehot was chosen President by the Corporation ; 
and this choice was confirmed by the Overseers, on the 19th 
of May, 1869. From the 26th of September to the 1st of 
July, such of the duties of the office as lie within the Aca- 
demic Department were performed by the Rev. Dr. Peabody. 

At the beginning of the following term, two members of 
the Corporation and three members of the Faculty were 
appointed a committee to make arrangements for President 
Eliot's Inauguration. This committee decided that the 
Inauguration should take place at Cambridge, on Tuesday 
afternoon, October 19. The Corporation appointed Lev- 
erett Saltonstall, Esq., chief marshal. The following invi- 
tation was published in the newspapers : — 

THE ALUMNI OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY 

Are invited to the Inauguration of Charles William Eliot, as Presi- 
dent of Harvard College, v/liicli takes place at Cambridge, on Tues- 
day, October 19. A procession will be formed in Gore Hall, at half- 
past two, P.M., under the direction of Leverett Saltonstall, Esq., and the 
exercises in the church will begin at three o'clock, p.m. Immediately 
after the exercises in the church, President Eliot will hold a reception at 
the President's house in Quincy Street. 



Committee of the 



John A. Lowell, 

NTathaniel SilsBEE, ^ Corjjoration. 

Joseph Lovering, ) 

Fra^ptq T Thttt* ( Committee of the 

i^RANCis J. Child, > College Faculty. 

George M. Lane, ) 



The students of the University, the members of the 
Government and of the Faculties of the University, their 
invited guests, and the Alumni in large numbers, assembled 
in Gore Hall at the proper time, and at 2f o'clock, p.m., the 
procession moved to the church of the First Congregational 
Society in the following order : — 

Music. 

Aid. Chief Marshal. Aid. 

Undergraduates of the College. 

Members of the Scientific and Professional Schools. 

Members of the Corporation. 

Ex-Presidents Walker and Hill. 

Former Members of the Corporation. 

The Overseers. 

Professors and other Officers of Instruction and Government in the 

University. 

Librarian, Steward, and Secretary. 

President of the Overseers and President of the University Elect. 

His Excellency the Governor, and Aids. 

Ex-Governors of the Commonwealth. 

His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor. 

Committees to Visit the University. 

Officers of the Army and Navy. 

Gentlemen specially invited. 

Presidents and Professors of other Colleges. 

Government of the Massachusetts Listitute of Technology. 

Acting President and Professors of the same. 

Judges of the State and United States Courts. 

Senators and Members of Congress. 

Mayors of Boston and Cambridge. 

Alumni. 

The ceremony of induction into office was performed for 
the first time in the history of the College, not by the Gov- 
ernor of the State, but by the President of the Board of 
Overseers. This change was necessitated by the altera- 
tions made in the constitution of the Board of Overseers 
by the Act of the Legislature dated April 28th, 1865. 



ORDER OF EXERCISES. 



I. MUSIC BY THE BAND. 

II. CHORAL : " Let us with a Gladsome Mind." 

III. PRAYER, BY REV. DR. PEABODY. 

IV. CONGRATULATORY ADDRESS IN LATIN. 

BY JOHN SILAS WHITE, OF THE SENIOR CLASS. 

V. INDUCTION INTO OEFICE. 

BY JOHN HENKY CLIFFORD, PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF OVERSEERS. 

VI. CHORUS : " Domine, salvum fac Praesidem Nostrum."— J. K. Paine. 
Vn. ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT ELIOT. 

VIII. Chorus from the Antigone op Sophocles : 
" IloXM TO, Setva Kovdev avdpunov deivorepov TreAei," 
" Wonders in Nature we see." — Mendelssohn. 

IX. BENEDICTION, BY REV. DR. WALKER. 



LATIN ORATION, 



JOHN SILAS WHITE, 



SENIOR CLASS. 



O 11 A T I O. 



CONVENIMUS hodie, alumni fautoresque hujus literarum 
universitatis, ut ilium, cujus adventus per hos dies non 
mediocriter captatus est, praesidem in munere constitu- 
amus. Ac si non ad exitum spei venerimus, ut verba 
duce magistroque mox nostro future digna dicamus, nee 
certe quod studium aut caritas Almae Matris deest, neque 
quod illi salutem non profitemur plurimam, labemur. 
Saepe numero antiquis temporibus Graeci petere Olym- 
piam solebant, Oampum Martium forum circum prisci 
Romani, ut ludos ibi et ludicra et gladiatorum certamina 
spectarent ; nos contra nee ut spectacula videamus nee ut 
coronas apii laurive victoribus tradamus ad liunc amplissi- 
mum venimus locum, sed ut pulchriore etiam lauro, maximo 
quidem munere, quod potest dare haec Academia, doctum 
ac probum alumnum donemus. 

Utinam viri illi clarissimi, qui hos ducentos triginta 
annos fuerunt gubernatores, nunc hujus diei lucem adspi- 
cerent, ut res nostras secundas viderent, ut eum, qui in 
eorum locum hodierno die succedit, nobiscum honore pro- 
sequerentur ! Duo tamen vivunt, duo soli, quos adesse 
vehementer gaudemus ; e quibus alter cum sapientia excel- 
lenti et paene perfecta praeditus tum suavitate benevo- 
lentia comitate omnibus pergratus erat semper ; alter, vir 



12 



singular! ingenio, magistratu ut abeat maximo dolore 
coactus est, cujus mentionem libet mihi eisdem facere 
verbis, quibus C. Galli vir ille Romanus : — ^' Mori paene 
videbamus ilium in studio dimetiendi caeli atque terrae. 
Quoties eura lux, noctu aliquid describere ingressum, 
quoties nox oppressit, cum mane coepisset ! Quam delec- 
tabat eum defectiones solis et lunae multo nobis ante 
praedicere ! " 

Tu quoque, gregis tamquam hujus Pastor atque Pater, 
carus omnibus exspectatusque venisti ; qui, acceptis magis- 
tratus numquam insignibus, interregna tamen per duo, cum 
res multis difficultatibus laborarent, munere gubernandi 
bene probe laute fungebaris. Quod quidem imperium 
tuum mite et tranquillum valde diligebamus. Numquam 
enim, si quis auxilium aut clementiam abs te petebat, 
prorsus denegavisti preces. Itaque, 

" Serus in caelum redeas, diuque" 

sis jucundus dulcis omnium amicus, qui annis volventibus 
ex hoc fonte aquas doctrinae haurient ! 

Te nunc, qui jam claves ceteraque honoris insignia 
accipies, pro omnibus, qui hujus sedis disciplinae fautores 
ac studiosi sunt, excipimus benignissime et salvere pluri- 
mum jubemus. Nam saepe antehac, vere prime, viri illus- 
tres illi quidem eruditique sed senectute affecti in munere 
praesidendi constituti sunt; tu autem, adulto auctumno, 
cum fructus uberes percipiuntur, cum plaustra frugum 
ac pomorum oneribus strident, juvenis nobis fis praeses. 
bonum ostentum ! faustum omen ! Etenim si tot 
et tanta illi egerunt senes, quam multa magnaque te actu- 



13 



rum sperare licet ! Quis enim melius adulescerites non 
instruere modo disciplina sed in bonam et rectam viam 
ducere potest, quam qui aetate ab iis paulum distat ? At 
non magno usu et exercitatione potest esse praeditus ; 
fateor ; sed adulescentium indolem ingenium animum 
optime intellegit, et talis eorum consiliorum particeps fit, 
ut facile ab omnibus amorem sibi conciliet. Quamquam 
tibi ne fama qnidem existimatioque desunt. Industriam 
enim quantam praestiteris et diligentiam et studium in 
rebus scholasticis ac conditionis humanae causa novimus. 
Quid de studiis transmarinis dicamus ? quid de integritate, 
quid de assuiduitate, qua in hac Academia tutor atque 
professor adjunctus, in Schola Artium professor, munia 
sequebaris ? Notae sunt animi fortitudo perseverantiaque 
tua omnibus qui hodierno die in hunc locum convenerunt. 
Ad has tam praeclaras virtutes hoc denique accedit, ut 
coraiter et jucunde negare possis. 

Hie igitur ordo professorum praeceptorumque gravis 
ac venerandus, et nos adulescentes, quibus ab eorum libet 
ore pendere bona atque ntilia docentium, etsi tempore, 
quod est vel maximi momenti, sedem ad gubernacula capis, 
dum gravissimis de rebus agitur, fidem tamen omnium 
tibi rerum habemus. Precamur autem a Deo Optimo Max- 
imo ut signis illis venustis ac pulchris, quae, verbo inter 
se discrepantia, re prorsus unum videntur sonare, semper 
tu et nos, ut diligimus, sic utamur, — " Christo et Ec- 
clesiae " atque " Veritas ; " 

** YerusqviQ sol illabere 
Micans nitore perpeti, 

Jubarque sancti spiritus 
Infunde nostris sensibus ! " 



ADDRESS 

or 

HON. JOHN H. CLIFFORD, 

TRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF OVERSEERS, 
AXD 

REPLY 

OF 

PRESIDENT ELIOT. 



ADDRESS, 



Professor Eliot : — 

In discharging the honorable duty it has pleased 
the Corporation of Harvard College to assign to me 
on this occasion, I am not unmindful that any par- 
ticipation of mine in these interesting services is of 
a purely official character. It arises from the change 
that has taken place in the Government of the College, 
since the last of your predecessors was invested with 
the authority of the high office to which you have 
been called, and the weighty responsibilities of which 
you are now formally and publicly to assume. 

This change, which has wisely taten from the Leg- 
islature, and confided to the Alumni of the College, 
the choice of the Board of Overseers, of which His 
Excellency the Governor had been previously the 
President by virtue of his office, terminated his con- 
nection with the Board, and required the election of a 
presiding officer from their own number. 

Among other results of this separation of the Col- 
lege from the State, we are deprived on this occasion 
of the accustomed aid of the Executive of the Com- 



18 



monwealth, by whom, for the time being, each of the 
twenty-one Presidents of the College who have pre- 
ceded you, during the whole period of the Colonial, 
Provincial, and Constitutional history of Massachusetts, 
has been inducted into office. 

As a compensation, however, for this and other ad- 
vantages it would have been pleasant to retain, by 
continuing that connection, the present organization 
of the College Government has happily fulfilled the 
wish of one of the most gifted and most loyal of your 
predecessors, the beloved and lamented Felton, so 
fervently expressed in the Address delivered by him 
at his inauguration as President of the University. 
" The body of the graduates," he says, " have but a 
slight connection with the University, after they have 
once been dismissed from Alma Mater's immediate care. 
They bear no official relation to it, and have no direct 
influence over its affairs. I wish it were otherwise ; 
for Harvard University is properly represented not 
only by those who are engaged for the moment in the 
studies of the place, but by the great body of educated 
men, who have gone forth into the world, and are 
filling their several posts of duty, labor, and dignity, — 
who are busied in the practical affairs of life, — in the 
professions, in science and letters, — the lawyers, phy- 
sicians, clergymen, scholars, statesmen, and orators. 
The undergraduates are the bright and promising 
spring, without which there could be no summer and 
autumn ; but the graduates are the summer and au- 
tumn, with ripening fruits and gathered harvests." 

This element has at length been wrought into the 



19 



framework of the Government; and now, for the 
first time in its history, the College stands alone, — 
unsupported by the State, — and dependent only upon 
itself to justify its claim to the lofty position it ought 
to occupy among our institutions of learning, of which 
it is the eldest, and should be the most advanced, 
beneficent, and renowned. 

If this termination of its official relations to the 
Commonwealth, by depriving us of the services of its 
honored Chief Magistrate in these ceremonials, has 
taken away from them something of external state 
and dignity, they certainly lose nothing of their impres- 
siveness and interest by assuming a more simple and 
less ostentatious character. 

When, Sir, the far-reaching issues that are involved 
in the great trust now to be confided to you, and the 
influence its wise, faithful, and efficient performance 
is to exert upon the country and the world, are meas- 
ured and understood ; when we reflect that we indulge 
but a reasonable hope, in looking forward from your 
period of life, that, through this day's proceedings 
your hand will be instrumental in leading the minds 
and moulding the characters of a larger number of the 
best youth of the country than w^ere guided by any of 
your predecessors, — it is no exaggeration to say, that 
this ceremony surpasses in interest and importance 
any that accompanies the investiture of Ruler or 
Magistrate with the functions of civil government, 
however imposing or significant they may be. 

Of the long procession of those who are to enter 
these halls, to pass through the prescribed curriculum 



20 



of study, and be subject to tbe conditions of the dis- 
cipline here to be administered, under your eye, and 
with your sanction and approval, there will not be one 
whose whole life may not be made or marred by the 
exercise of the authority which is this day conferred 
upon you ; there is not a dwelling in all this broad 
land, from which those youths will come, with the 
fresh recollection of a father's blessing and a moth- 
er's tears, that will not be agonized by disappointed 
hopes, or brightened into unspeakable satisfaction 
and joy, by the training of mind and heart which has 
here taken the place of all the salutary influences of 
home ; and there is not a spot of all this country's 
soil, or a sphere of man's activities throughout the 
world, to which the results of that training will not 
be borne in future years, to, wield its influence for evil 
or for good. 

There is no danger that I speak too strongly of the 
personal influence it is in the power of the Head of 
the University to exert over the successive classes of 
young men with whom he is brought into intercourse, 
by any adequate and conscientious discharge of the 
duties of his oflice. Hand inexpertus loquor. I may 
be pardoned if the associations of this hour, recalling 
my own early experience of the priceless value of this 
influence, should prompt a grateful recognition of 
what I owe to it, and justify my estimate of what can 
be accomplished by the wise and judicious direction a 
college President can give to the discipline of the 
students committed to his care. 

I have sometimes thought, if this influence, com- 



21 



bined with some mode of personal examination, by 
which the Faculty might test the student's disposition 
to make the best of his opportunities, according to his 
capacity, could take the place of the present unsatis- 
factory and often unjust system of arbitrary marks, 
even when most critically and conscientiously en- 
forced, our college culture would better accomplish its 
highest results. The Procrustes bed on which the 
poor victim of mediocrity of talent is now laid, to be 
stretched out to the stature of the more highly gifted 
child of genius by his side, would no longer exist, to 
work the injustice of which it has too often been the 
instrument. Mediocrity is the unattractive average of 
the race; though its capabilities, wisely stimulated, and 
diligently cultivated, constitute the working forces of 
the world. Genius, with its brilliant but often erratic 
efforts, is the rare exception in human endowment. 
The former needs all the fostering and patient care 
the teacher can bestow. The latter is self-reliant and 
sufficient unto itself. May it be the proud boast of 
this Institution, under your auspicious and conscien- 
tious administration, that while the brightest genius 
shall here find fit nurture for its highest powers, no 
well-intentioned efi'ort for improvement, of even the 
humblest capacity, shall fail of receiving at your hands 
all practicable encouragement and support. 

I should fall short of my duty on this occasion 
to that branch of the Government as whose organ 
it is my privilege to address you, and whose mem- 
bers are looking with earnest hope to your acces- 
sion to this office, as the commencement of a new 



22 



era of prosperity and progress for the Institution in 
whose usefuhiess and glory they feel so profound an 
interest, if I did not add to these remarks upon the 
training the College is to give, a brief word upon what 
it is to teach. 

With all its rich appointments for a thorough uni- 
versity education ; in the broad range of its schools of 
science, the number of which it is constantly increas- 
ing; in the well-won and world-wide fame of the 
members of its various Faculties, ; and in the dis- 
tinction it enjoys as the eldest and most honored of 
American Universities, — it is not strange that a wide 
and deep interest is felt in the direction it will give 
to the scholarship of the country, to the achievements 
of which it has so largely contributed through the 
whole xjeriod of its history. . 

When its venerated founders, the Fathers of New 
England, inscribed the simple motto " Veritas " upon 
the college seal, and when their immediate successors 
enlarged its legend by the adoption of that which it 
now bears, " Christo et Ecclesi^," as the watchword 
and token of its allegiance to the highest truth, they 
surely never dreamed, — may the day never dawn when 
their descendants shall declare — that there is an " irre- 
pressible conflict" between the truths of ethical and 
of physical science. Truth is one : — " vital in every 
part, it cannot, but by annihilation, die ; " and he is 
but poorly armed in its panoply of proof, who fears 
that any speculation, study, or research can establish 
a want of harmony between the revelations of God 
through the spirit he has breathed into his noblest 



23 



creation, and those he has imparted through his im- 
prints upon the insensate rocks. 

Idle, too, is the boast, or the dread, that, if such a 
conflict is to come, its predestined and ignoble issue 
will be, that the highest and most precious truth man 
can comprehend, and which ennobles human life and 
all its acquisitions and accomplishments with their 
chief dignity and value, shall surrender to the hasty 
generalizations and unwarranted and unchastened 
speculations of the presumptuous sciolist, whose 
" mind has been subdued to what it works in, like the 
dyer's hand." Were such to be the result of what is 
called the progress of science, as taught within these 
walls, that He is to be ignored to whose glory they 
were reared, of what significance are these idle cere- 
monials, from which we might as well turn away, 
" one to his farm, and another to his merchandise," 
contenting ourselves only with the reflection, that, like 
the beasts that perish, we can " eat and drink, for to- 
morrow we die " ^ 

In the progress of what is complacently called the 
" advanced thought of New England," and it may be 
at no distant day, there doubtless will be waged a con- 
flict of opinion of the highest import to the cause of 
truth, and the w^elfare of the race. Whenever it 
comes, Harvard College can hold no subordinate place 
among the institutions of the country, in whose armo- 
ries must be forged the weapons with which it will be 
fought. Her friends can have no misgivings as to the 
position she will occupy on such a field. Her great 
influence can never be arrayed on the side of those 



24 



whose arrogant self-conceit can find no higher object 
of worship than the pretentious intellect of man, — 
to-day, asserting its own omnipotence ; to-morrow, 
" babbling of green fields," as its possessor sinks be- 
neath the turf that covers them to mingle with his 
kindred clod ; — of those whose misty speculations 
shut out the life-giving rays of the " Star of Beth- 
lehem," and who, with puny but presumptuous hand, 
would — 

" hang a curtain on the East, 
The daylight from the world to keep." 

Having thus given a brief and very inadequate 
expression of some thoughts respecting the training 
and the teaching of the University, which are enter- 
tained by many of its wisest and truest friends, and 
which seem to me not inappropriate to an occasion 
like this, it only remains for me to place in your 
charge these Keys, this ancient Charter, and this Seal 
of the College, the symbols and the warrant of the 
authority now conferred upon you as its official 
Head. 

As one of her adopted children, who would fain 
make his devotion to the best interests of the Univer- 
sity in some humble degree commensurate with her 
prodigal bestowal upon him of the honors he has 
received at her hands, I perform this grateful service. 
I do it with an abounding confidence, that, in your 
administration of the great trust which, by your ac- 
ceptance of these symbols, you now assume, the fond 
and fervent hopes of all the friends of the University, 



25 



that cluster around your entrance upon this new field 
of labor and honor, will be amply justified and real- 
ized. 

Endowed with intellectual tastes and moral charac- 
teristics, and accustomed to the prosecution of studies, 
all eminently fitted to prepare you for your great 
work ; familiar with all the departments both of 
pupilage and instruction in the Institution, within 
whose walls you have been nurtured and almost 
domesticated, as in a second home ; your judgment 
enlarged and strengthened by the ripened fruits of 
foreign travel, and the observation and study of the 
best processes of education at home and abroad; 
receiving a generous and cordial welcome from your 
learned and accomplished associates to their com- 
panionship and chieftainship ; and added to all these 
personal and social qualifications an hereditary loy- 
alty to the Institution, which cannot fail to inspire 
the heart of a son whose honored father, so many 
of us remember, was one of its most devoted, efficient, 
and valued friends, — there seems nothing wanting to 
our heartfelt congratulations on this day, both to the 
University and to yourself. If the reflection should 
at any time intrude itself upon your mind, as you feel 
the pressure of responsibilities you have conscien- 
tiously assumed, that you encounter the trials which 
are inseparable from them at an earlier age than any 
of your predecessors, we who have been instrumental 
in imposing them upon you can felicitate ourselves 
with the assurance that " honorable age is not that 
which standeth in length of time, nor that which is 



26 



measured by number of years ; but that wisdom is 
the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is 
old age." 

Tendering to you, therefore, the awaiting confi- 
dence, the cordial sympathies, and the ready cooper- 
ation of the Fellows and Overseers, — in their name, 
and on their behalf, I now greet and welcome you as 
the President of Harvard College. 



To this address President Eliot made answer as follows : — 

Mr. President, — I hear in your voice the voice 
of the Alumni, welcoming me to high honors and 
arduous labors, and charging me to be faithful to 
the duties of this consecrated office. I take up this 
weighty charge with a deep sense of insufficiency, 
but yet with youthful hope, and a good courage. 
High examples will lighten the way. Deep prayers 
of devoted living and sainted dead will further every 
right effort, every good intention. The University is 
strong in the ardor and self-sacrifice of its teachers, in 
the vigor and wisdom of the Corporation and Over- 
seers, and in the public spirit of the community. 
Above all, I devote myself to this sacred work, in the 
firm faith that the God of the fathers will be also 
with the children. 



INAUGURAL ADDRESS 



PKESIDENT ELIOT. 



ADDRESS. 



The endless controversies whether language, phi- 
losophy, mathematics, or science supply the best 
mental training, whether general education should be 
chiefly literary or chiefly scientific, have no practical 
lesson for us to-day. This University recognizes no 
real antagonism between literature and science, and 
consents to no such narrow alternatives as mathema- 
tics or classics, science or metaphysics. We would 
have them all, and at their best. To observe keenly, 
to reason soundly, and to imagine vividly are opera- 
tions as essential as that of clear and forcible expres- 
sion ; and to develop one of these faculties, it is not 
necessary to repress and dwarf the others. A Univer- 
sity is not closely concerned with the applications of 
knowledge, until its general education branches into 
professional. Poetry and philosophy and science do 
indeed conspire to promote the material welfare of 
mankind ; but science no more than poetry finds its 
best warrant in its utility. Truth and right are 
above utility in all realms of thought and action. 

It were a bitter mockery to suggest that any subject 
whatever should be taught less than it now is in Amer- 



30 



ican colleges. The only conceivable aim of a college 
government in our day is to broaden, deepen, and in- 
vigorate American teaching in all branches of learning. 
It will be generations before the best of American 
institutions of education will get growth enough to 
bear pruning. The descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers 
are still very thankful for the parched corn of learning. 
Eecent discussions have added pitifully little to the 
world's stock of wisdom about the staple of education. 
Who blows to-day such a ringing trumpet-call to the 
study of language as Luther blew] Hardly a sig- 
nificant word has been added in two centuries to Mil- 
ton's description of the unprofitable way to study 
languages. AVould any young American learn how 
to profit by travel, that foolish beginning but excel- 
lent sequel to education, he can find no apter advice 
than Bacon's. The practice of England and America 
is literally centuries behind the precept of the best 
thinkers upon education. A striking illustration may 
be found in the prevailing neglect of the systematic 
study of the English language. How lamentably true 
to-day are these words of Locke : " If any one among 
us have a facility or purity more than ordinary in his 
mother-tongue, it is owing to chance, or his genius, 
or any thing rathet than to his education or any care 
of his teacher." 

The best result of the discussion which has raged 
so long about the relative educational value of the 
main branches of learning is- the conviction that there 
is room for them all in a sound scheme, provided that 



I 



31 



right methods of teaching be employed. It is not 
because of the limitation of their faculties that boys 
of eighteen come to college, having mastered nothing 
but a few score pages of Latin and Greek, and the 
bare elements of mathematics. Not nature, but an 
unintelligent system of instruction from the primary 
school through the college, is responsible for the fact 
that many college graduates have so inadequate a 
conception of what is meant by scientific observation, 
reasoning, and proof. It is possible for the young to 
get actual experience of all the principal methods of 
thought. There is a method of thought in language, 
and a method in mathematics, and another of natural 
and physical science, and another of faith. With wise 
direction, even a child would drink at all these springs. 
The actual problem to be solved is not what to teach, 
but how to teach. The revolutions accomplished in 
other fields of labor have a lesson for teachers. New 
England could not cut her hay with scythes, nor the 
West her wheat with sickles. When millions are to 
be fed where formerly there were but scores, the 
single fish-line must be replaced by seines and trawls, 
the human shoulders by steam-elevators, and the 
wooden-axled ox-cart on a corduroy road by the 
smooth -running freight train. In education, there 
is a great hungry multitude to be fed. The great 
well at Orvieto, up whose spiral paths files of don- 
keys painfully brought the sweet water in kegs, 
was an admirable construction in its day ; but now we 
tap Fresh Pond in our chambers. The Orvieto well 
might remind some persons of educational methods 



32 



not yet extinct. With good methods, we may con- 
fidently hope to give young men of twenty or twenty- 
five an accurate general knowledge of all the main 
subjects of human interest, beside a minute and 
thorough knowledge of the one subject which each 
may select as his principal occupation in life. To 
think this impossible is to despair of mankind ; for 
unless a general acquaintance with many branches of 
knowledge, good as far as it goes, be attainable by 
great numbers of men, there can be no such thing as 
an intelligent public opinion ; and in the modern world 
the intelligence of public opinion is the one condition 
of social progress. 

"What has been said of needed reformation in 
methods of teaching the subjects which have already 
been nominally admitted to • the American curriculum 
applies not only to the University, but to the prepara- 
tory schools of every grade down to the primary. The 
American college is obliged to supplement the Ameri- 
can school. Whatever elementary instruction the 
schools fail to give, the college must supply. The im- 
provement of the schools has of late years permitted 
the college to advance the grade of its teaching, and 
adapt the methods of its later years to men instead of 
boys. This improvement of the college reacts upon 
the schools to their advantage ; and this action and 
reaction will be continuous. A university is not built 
in the air, but on social and literary foundations w^hich 
preceding generations have bequeathed. If the whole 
structure needs rebuilding, it must be rebuilt from the 
foundation. Hence, sudden reconstruction is impossi- 



33 



ble in our high places of education. Such induce- 
ments as the College can offer for enriching and 
enlarging the course of study pursued in preparatory 
schools, the Faculty has recently decided to give. The 
requirements in Latin and Greek grammar are to be 
set at a thorough knowledge of forms and general 
principles ; the lists of classical authors accepted as 
equivalents for the regular standards are to be en- 
larged ; an acquaintance with physical geography is 
to be required ; the study of elementary mechanics 
is to be recommended, and prizes are to be offered for 
reading aloud, and for the critical analysis of passages 
from English authors. At the same time the Univer- 
sity will take to heart the counsel which it gives to 
others. 

In every department of learning, the University 
would search out by trial and reflection the best 
methods of instruction. The University believes in the 
thorough study of language. It contends for all lan- 
guages, — Oriental, Greek, Latin, Komance, German, 
and especially for the mother-tongue ; seeing in them 
all one institution, one history, one means of discipline, 
one department of learning. In teaching languages, 
it is for this American generation to invent, or to ac- 
cept from abroad, better tools than the old ; to devise 
or to transplant from Europe, prompter and more 
comprehensive methods than the prevailing, and to 
command more intelligent labor, in order to gather 
rapidly and surely the best fruit of that culture and 
have time for other harvests. 



34 



The University recognizes the natural and physical 
sciences as indispensable branches of education, and 
has long acted upon this opinion ; but it would have 
science taught in a rational way, objects and instru- 
ments in hand, — not from books merely, not through 
the memory chiefly, but by the seeing eye and the 
informing fingers. Some of the scientific scofi'ers at 
gerund grinding and nonsense verses might well look 
at home ; the prevailing methods of teaching science, 
the world over, are, on the whole, less intelligent 
than the methods of teaching language. The Univer- 
sity would have scientific studies in school and col- 
lege and professional school develop and discipline 
those powers of the mind by which science has been 
created and is daily nourished, — the powers of obser- 
vation, the inductive faculty, -the sober imagination, the 
sincere and proportionate judgment. A student in the 
elements gets no such training by studying even a 
good text-book, though he really master it, nor yet by 
sitting at the feet of the most admirable lecturer. 

If there be any subject which seems fixed and set- 
tled in its educational aspects, it is the mathematics ; 
yet there is no department of the University which has 
been, during the last fifteen years, in such a state of 
vigorous experiment upon methods and appliances of 
teaching as the mathematical department. It would 
be well if the primary schools had as much faith in 
the possibility of improving their way of teaching 
multiplication. 

The important place which history, and mental, 
moral, and political philosophy, should hold in any 
broad scheme of education is recognized of all ; but 



35 



none know so well how crude are the prevailing 
methods of teaching these subjects as those who 
teach them best. They cannot be taught from books 
alone ; but must be vivified and illustrated by teachers 
of active, comprehensive, and judicial mind. To 
learn by rote a list of dates is not to study history. 
Mr. Emerson says that history is biography. In a 
deep sense this is true. Certainly, the best way to 
impart the facts of history to the young is through the 
quick interest they take in the lives of the men and 
women who fill great historical scenes or epitomize 
epochs. From the centres so established, their interest 
may be spread over great areas. For the young espe- 
cially, it is better to enter with intense sympathy into 
the great moments of history, than to stretch a thin 
attention through its weary centuries. 

Philosophical subjects should never be taught with 
authority. They are not established sciences; they 
are full of disputed matters, and open questions, and 
bottomless speculations. It is not the function .of 
the teacher to settle philosophical and political 
controversies for the pupil, or even to recommend 
to him any one set of opinions as better than 
another. Exposition, not imposition, of opinions is 
the professor's part. The student should be made 
acquainted with all sides of these controversies, with 
the salient points of each system ; he should be 
shown what is still in force of institutions or phi- 
losophies mainly outgrown, and what is new in those 
now in vogue. The very word education is a standing 
protest against dogmatic teaching. The notion that 
education consists in the authoritative inculcation of 



36 



what the teacher deems true may be logical and ap- 
propriate in a convent, or a seminary for priests, but 
it is intolerable in universities and public schools, 
from primary to professional. The worthy fruit of 
academic culture is an open mind, trained to careful 
thinking, instructed in the methods of philosophic 
investigation, acquainted in a general way with the 
accumulated thought of past generations, and pene- 
trated with humility. It is thus that the University 
in our day serves Christ and the Church. 

The increasing weight, range, and thoroughness of 
the examination for admission to college may strike 
some observers with dismay. The increase of real 
requisitions is hardly perceptible from year to year ; 
but, on looking back ten or twenty years, the changes 
are marked, and all in one direction. The dignity and 
importance of this examination has been steadily ris- 
ing, and this rise measures the improvement of the 
preparatory schools. When the gradual improvement 
of American schools has lifted them to a level with 
the German gymnasia, we may expect to see the 
American college bearing a nearer resemblance to the 
German Faculties of Philosophy than it now does. 
The actual admission examination may best be com- 
pared with the first examination of the University of 
France. This examination, which comes at the end 
of a French boy's school-life, is for the degree of 
Bachelor of Arts or of Sciences. The degree is given 
to young men who come fresh from school, and have 
never been under University teachers : a large part of 



37 



the recipients never enter the University. The young 
men who come to our examination for admission to 
College are older than the average of French Bache- 
lors of Arts. The examination tests not only the 
capacity of the candidates, but also the quality of 
their school instruction ; it is a great event in their 
lives, though not, as in France, marked by any degree. 
The examination is conducted by college professors 
and tutors v^ho have never had any relations what- 
ever with those examined. It would be a great 
gain, if all subsequent college examinations could 
be as impartially conducted by competent examiners 
brought from without the college and paid for their 
services. When the teacher examines his class, 
there is no effective examination of the teacher. If 
the examinations for the scientific, theological, medi- 
cal, and dental degrees were conducted by independent 
boards of examiners, appointed by professional bodies 
of dignity and influence, the significance of these 
degrees would be greatly enhanced. The same might 
be said of the degree of Bachelor of Laws, were it not 
that this degree is, at present, earned by attendance 
alone, and not by attendance and examination. The 
American practice of allowing the teaching body to 
examine for degrees has been partly dictated by the 
scarcity of men outside the Faculties who are at once 
thoroughly acquainted with the subjects of examina- 
tion, and sufficiently versed in teaching to know what 
may fairly be expected both of students and instructors. 
This difiiculty could now be overcome. The chief 
reason, however, for the existence of this practice is 



38 



that the Faculties were the only bodies that could 
confer degrees intelligently, when degrees were ob- 
tained by passing through a prescribed course of 
study without serious checks, and completing a cer- 
tain term of residence without disgrace. The change 
in the manner of earning the University degrees ought, 
by right, to have brought into being an examining 
body distinct from the teaching body. So far as the 
college proper is concerned, the Board of Overseers 
have, during the past year, taken a step which tends 
in this direction. 

The rigorous examination for admission has one 
good effect throughout the college course ; it pre- 
vents a waste of instruction upon incompetent per- 
sons. A school with a low standard for admission 
and a high standard of graduation, like West Point, 
is obliged to dismiss a large proportion of its students 
by the way. Hence much individual distress, and a 
great waste of resources, both public and private. 
But, on the other hand, it must not be supposed that 
every student who enters Harvard College necessarily 
graduates. Strict annual examinations are to be passed. 
More than a fourth of those who enter the College fail 
to take their degree. 

Only a few years ago, all students who graduated at 
this College passed through one uniform curriculum. 
Every man studied the same subjects in the same pro- 
portions, without regard to his natural bent or prefer- 
ence. The individual student had no choice either of 
subjects or teachers. This system is still the prevail- 



39 



ing system among American colleges, and finds vigor- 
ous defenders. It has the merit of simplicity. So 
had the school methods of our grandfathers, — one 
primer, one catechism, one rod for all children. On 
the whole, a single common course of studies, tolerably 
well selected to meet the average needs, seems to most 
Americans a very proper and natural thing, even for 
grown men. 

As a people, we do not apply to mental activities 
the principle of division of labor ; and w^e have but a 
halting faith in special training for high professional 
employments. The vulgar conceit that a Yankee can 
turn his hand to any thing we insensibly carry into 
high places, where it is preposterous and criminal. 
We are accustomed to seeing men leap from farm or 
shop to court-room or pulpit, and we half believe that 
common men can safely use the seven-league boots 
of genius. What amount of knowledge and ex- 
perience do we habitually demand of our law-givers ? 
What special training do we ordinarily think necessary 
for our diplomatists ] In great emergencies, indeed, 
the nation has known where to turn. Only after years 
of the bitterest experience did we come to believe the 
professional training of a soldier to be of value in war. 
This lack of faith in the prophecy of a natural bent, 
and in the value of a discipline concentrated upon a 
single object, amounts to a national danger. 

In education, the individual traits of different minds 
have not been sufficiently attended to. Through all 
the period of boyhood the school-studies should be 
representative ; all the main fields of knowledge 



40 



should be entered upon. But the young man of nine- 
teen or twenty ought to know what he likes best 
and is most fit for. If his previous training has 
been sufficiently wide, he will know by that time 
whether he is most apt at language or philosophy or 
natural science or mathematics. If he feels no loves, 
he will at least have his hates. At that age the 
teacher may wisely abandon the school-dame's prac- 
tice of giving a copy of nothing but zeros to the child 
who alleges that he cannot make that figure. When 
the revelation of his own peculiar taste and capacity 
comes to a young man, let him reverently give it wel- 
come, thank God, and take courage. Thereafter, he 
knows his way to happy, enthusiastic work, and, God 
willing, to usefulness and success. The civilization 
of a people may be inferred from the variety of its 
tools. There are thousands of years between the 
stone hatchet and the machine-shop. As tools multi- 
ply, each is more ingeniously adapted to its own ex- 
clusive purpose. So with the men that make the 
State. For the individual, concentration, and the 
highest development of his own peculiar faculty, is 
the only prudence. But for the State, it is variety, 
not uniformity, of intellectual product, which is need- 
ful. 

These principles are the justification of the sys- 
tem of elective studies which has been gradually 
developed in this College during the past twenty 
years. At present, the Freshman year is the only one 
in which there is a fixed course prescribed for all. In 
the other three years, more than half the time allotted 



41 



to study is filled with subjects chosen by each student 
from lists which comprise six studies in the Sopho- 
more year, nine in the Junior year, and eleven in the 
Senior year. The range of elective studies is large, 
though there are some striking deficiencies. The 
liberty of choice of subject is wide, but yet has very 
rigid limits. There is a certain framework which 
must be filled; and about half the material of the filling 
is prescribed. The choice ofi'ered to the student does 
not lie between liberal studies and professional or 
utilitarian studies. All the studies which are open to 
him are liberal and disciplinary, not narrow or special. 
Under this system the College does not demand, it is 
true, one invariable set of studies of every candidate 
for the first degree in Arts ; but its requisitions for 
this degree are nevertheless high and inflexible, being 
nothing less than four years devoted to liberal 
culture. 

It has been alleged that the elective system must 
weaken the bond which unites members of the same 
class. This is true ; but in view of another much 
more efficient cause of the diminution of class inti- 
macy, the point is not very significant. The increased 
size of the college classes inevitably works a great 
change in this respect. One hundred and fifty young 
men cannot be so intimate with each other as fifty 
used to be. This increase is progressive. Taken in 
connection with the rising average age of the students, 
it would compel the adoption of methods of instruction 
diff'erent from the old, if there were no better motive 
for such change. The elective system fosters scholar- 



42 



ship, because it gives free play to natural preferences 
and inborn aptitudes, makes possible enthusiasm for 
a chosen work, relieves the professor and the ardent 
disciple of the presence of a body of students who are 
compelled to an unwelcome task, and enlarges in- 
struction by substituting many and various lessons 
given to small, lively classes, for a few lessons many 
times repeated to different sections of a numerous 
class. The College therefore proposes to persevere 
in its efforts to establish, improve, and extend the 
elective system. Its administrative difficulties, which 
seem formidable at first, vanish before a brief experi- 
ence. 

There has been much discussion about the com- 
parative merits of lectures and recitations. Both are 
useful, — lectures for inspiration, guidance, and the 
comprehensive methodizing, which only one who has 
a view of the whole field can rightly contrive ; recita- 
tions, for securing and testifying a thorough mastery 
on the part of the pupil of the treatise or author hi 
hand, for conversational comment and amplification, 
for emulation and competition. Eecitations alone 
readily degenerate into dusty repetitions, and lectures 
alone are too often a useless expenditure of force. 
The lecturer pumps laboriously into sieves. The 
water may be wholesome, but it runs through. A 
mind must work to grow. Just as far, however, as 
the student can be relied on to master and appreciate 
his author without the aid of frequent questioning 
and repetitions, so far is it possible to dispense with 



43 



recitations. Accordingly, in the later college years 
there is a decided tendency to diminish the number of 
recitations, the faithfulness of the student being tested 
by periodical examinations. This tendency is in a 
right direction, if prudently controlled. 

The discussion about lectures and recitations has 
brought out some strong opinions about text-books and 
their use. Impatience with text-books and manuals is 
very natural both in teachers and taught. These books 
are indeed, for the most part, very imperfect, and stand 
in constant need of correction by the well-informed 
teacher. Stereotyping, in its present undeveloped con- 
dition, is in part to blame for their most exasperating 
defects. To make the metal plates keep pace with the 
progress of learning is costly. The manifest deficien- 
cies of text-books must not, however, drive us into a 
too sweeping condemnation of their use. It is a rare 
teacher who is superior to all manuals in his subject. 
Scientific manuals are, as a rule, much worse than 
those upon language, literature, or philosophy ; yet 
the main improvement in medical education in this 
country during the last twenty years has been the ad- 
dition of systematic recitations from text-books to the 
lectures which were formerly the principal means of 
theoretical instruction. The training of a medical 
student, inadequate as it is, offers the best example 
we have of the methods and fruits of an education 
mainly scientific. The transformation which the aver- 
age student of a good medical school undergoes in 
three years is strong testimony to the efficiency of 
the training he receives. 



44 



There are certain common misapprehensions about 
colleges in general, and this College in particular, to 
which I wish to devote a few moments' attention. 
And, first, in spite of the familiar picture of the moral 
dangers which environ the student, there is no place 
so safe as a good college during the critical passage 
from boyhood to manhood. The security of the col- 
lege commonwealth is largely due to its exuberant 
activity. Its public opinion, though easily led astray, 
is still high in the main. Its scholarly tastes and 
habits, its eager friendships and quick hatreds, its | 

keen debates, its frank discussions of character and of \ 

deep political and religious questions, — all are safe- j 

guards against sloth, vulgarity, and depravity. Its i 

society and not less its solitudes are full of teaching. 
Shams, conceit, and fictitious distinctions get no mercy. 
There is nothing but ridicule for bombast and senti- 
mentality, Repression of genuine sentiment and emo- 
tion is indeed, in this College, carried too far. Reserve 
is more respectable than any undiscerning communi- 
cativeness. But neither Yankee shamefacedness nor 
English stolidity is admirable. This point especially 
touches you, young men, who are still undergraduates. 
When you feel a true admiration for a teacher, a glow 
of enthusiasm for work, a thrill of pleasure at some 
excellent saying, give it expression. Do not be 
ashamed of these emotions. Cherish the natural sen- 
timent of personal devotion to the teacher who calls 
out your better powers. It is a great delight to serve 
an intellectual master. We Americans are but too 
apt to lose this happiness. German and French stu- 



45 



dents get it. If ever in after years yoii come to smile 
at the youthful reverence you paid, believe me, it will 
be with tears in your eyes. 

Many excellent persons see great offence in any 
system of college rank ; but why should we expect 
more of young men than we do of their elders ] How 
many men and women perform their daily tasks from 
the highest motives alone, — for the glory of God and 
the relief of man's estate ] Most people work for bare 
bread, a few for cake. The college rank-list rein- 
forces higher motives. In the campaign for character, 
no auxiliaries are to be refused. Next to despising 
the enemy, it is dangerous to reject allies. To devise 
a suitable method of estimating the fidelity and attain- 
ments of college students is, however, a problem which 
has long been under discussion, and has not yet re- 
ceived a satisfactory solution. The worst of rank as 
a stimulus is the self-reference it implies in the aspi- 
rants. The less a young man thinks about the culti- 
vation of his mind, about his own mental progress, ^- 
about himself, in short, — the better. 

The petty discipline of colleges attracts altogether 
too much attention both from friends and foes. It is 
to be remembered that the rules concerning decorum, 
however necessary to maintain the high standard of 
manners and conduct which characterizes this College, 
are nevertheless justly described as petty. What is 
technically called a quiet term cannot be accepted as 
the acme of University success. This success is not 
to be measured by the frequency or rarity of college 
punishments. The criteria of success or failure in a 



46 



high place of learning are not the boyish escapades 
of an insignificant minority, nor the exceptional 
cases of ruinous vice. Each year must be judged 
by the added opportunities of instruction, by the 
prevailing enthusiasm in learning, and by the gathered 
wealth of culture and character. The best way to 
put boyishness to shame is to foster scholarship 
and manliness. The manners of a community can- 
not be improved by main force any more than its 
morals. The Statutes of the University need some 
amendment and reduction in the chapters on crimes 
and misdemeanors. But let us render to our fathers 
the justice we shall need from our sons. What 
is too minute or precise for our use was doubt- 
less wise and proper in its day. It was to inculcate 
a reverent bearing and due consideration for things 
sacred that the regulations prescribed a black dress 
on Sunday. Black is not the only decorous wear in 
these days ; but we must not seem, in ceasing from 
this particular mode of good manners, to think less of 
the gentle breeding of which only the outward signs, 
and not the substance, have been changed. 

Harvard College has always attracted and still 
attracts students in all conditions of life. From the 
city trader or professional man, who may be careless 
how much his son spends at Cambridge, to the farmer 
or mechanic, who finds it a hard sacrifice to give his 
boy his time early enough to enable him to prepare 
for college, — all sorts and conditions of men have 
wished and still wish to send their sons hither. There 



47 



are always scores of young men in this University 
who earn or borrow every dollar they spend here. 
Every year many young men enter this College with- 
out any resources whatever. If they prove them- 
selves men of capacity and character, they never go 
away for lack of money. More than twenty thousand 
dollars a year is now devoted to aiding students of 
narrow means to compass their education, beside all 
the remitted fees and the numerous private benefac- 
tions. These latter are unfailing. Taken in connec- 
tion with the proceeds of the funds applicable to the 
aid of poor students, they enable the Corporation to 
say that no good student need ever stay away from 
Cambridge, or leave college simply because he is 
poor. There is one uniform condition, however, on 
which help is given, — the recipient must be of promis- 
ing ability and the best character. The community 
does not owe superior education to all children, but 
only to the elite, — to those who, having the capacity, 
prove by hard work that they have also the neces- 
sary perseverance and endurance. The process of 
preparing to enter college under the difficulties 
which poverty entails is just such a test of worthi- 
ness as is needed. At this moment there is no 
college in the country more eligible for a ])oor student 
than Harvard on the mere ground of economy. The 
scholarship funds are mainly the fruit of the last 
fifteen years. The future will take care of itself; for 
it is to be expected that the men who in this genera- 
tion have had the benefit of these funds, and who 
succeed in after life, will pay many fold to their sue- 



48 



cessors in need the debt which they owe, not to the 
College, but to benefactors whom they cannot even 
thank, save in heaven. No wonder that scholarships 
are founded. What greater privilege than this of 
giving young men of promise the coveted means 
of intellectual growth and freedom] The angels of 
heaven might envy mortals so fine a luxury. The 
happiness which the winning of a scholarship gives is 
not the recipient's alone : it fi.ashes back to the home 
whence he came, and gladdens anxious hearts there. 
The good which it does is not his alone, but descends, 
multiplying at every step, through generations. 
Thanks to the beneficent mysteries of hereditary trans- 
mission, no capital earns such interest as personal 
culture. The poorest and the richest students are 
equally welcome here, provided that with their pov- 
erty or their wealth they bring capacity., ambition, 
and purity. The poverty of scholars is of inestimable 
worth in this money-getting nation. It maintains 
the true standards of virtue and honor. The poor 
friars, not the bishops, saved the Church. The poor 
scholars and preachers of duty defend the modern 
community against its own material prosperity. Lux- 
ury and learning are ill bed-fellows. Nevertheless, 
this College owes much of its distinctive character to 
those who bringing hither from refined homes good 
breeding, gentle tastes, and a manly delicacy, add to 
them openness and activity of mind, intellectual in- 
terests, and a sense of public duty. It is as high a 
privilege for a rich man's son as for a poor man's to 
resort to these academic halls, and so to take his 



49 



proper place among cultivated and intellectual men. 
To lose altogether the presence of those who in early 
life have enjoyed the domestic and social advantages 
of wealth would be as great a blow to the College as 
to lose the sons of the poor. The interests of the 
College and the country are identical in this regard. 
The country suffers when the rich are ignorant and 
unrefined. Inherited wealth is an unmitigated curse 
when divorced from culture. Harvard College is 
sometimes reproached with being aristocratic. If by 
aristocracy be meant a stupid and pretentious caste, 
founded on wealth, and birth, and an affectation of 
European manners, no charge could be more prepos- 
terous : the College is intensely American in affection, 
and intensely democratic in temper. But there is an 
aristocracy to which the sons of Harvard have be- 
longed, and let us hope will ever aspire to belong, — 
the aristocracy which excels in manly sports, carries 
off the honors and prizes of the learned professions, 
and bears itself with distinction in all fields of intel- 
lectual labor and combat ; the aristocracy which in 
peace stands firmest for the public honor and renown, 
and in war rides first into the murderous thickets. 

The attitude of the University in the prevailing dis- 
cussions touching the education and fit employments of 
women demands brief explanation. America is the 
natural arena for these debates ; for here the female 
sex has a better past and a better present than else- 
where. Americans, as a rule, hate disabilities of all 
sorts, whether religious, political, or social. Equality 

. 7 



50 



between the sexes, without privilege or oppression on 
either side, is the happy custom of American homes. 
While this great discussion is going on, it is the duty 
of the University to maintain a cautious and expectant 
policy. The Corporation wdll not receive women as 
students into the College proper, nor into any school 
whose discipline requires residence near the school. 
The difficulties involved in a common residence of hun- 
dreds of young men and women of immature character 
and marriageable age are very grave. The necessary 
police regulations are exceedingly burdensome. The 
Corporation are not influenced to this decision, 
however, by any crude notions about the innate 
capacities of women. The world knows next to 
nothing about the natural mental capacities of the 
female sex. Only after generations of civil freedom 
and social equality will it be possible to obtain the 
data necessary for an adequate discussion of woman's 
natural tendencies, tastes, and capabilities. Again, 
the Corporation do not find it necessary to entertain 
a confident opinion upon the fitness or unfitness 
of women for professional pursuits. It is not the 
business of the University to decide this mooted point. 
In this country the University does not undertake to 
protect the community against incompetent lawyers, 
ministers, or doctors. The community must protect 
itself by refusing to employ such. Practical, not theo- 
retical, considerations determine the policy of the Uni- 
versity. Upon a matter concerning which prejudices are 
deep, and opinion inflammable, and experience scanty, 
only one course is prudent, or justifiable when such 



51 



great interests are at stake, — that of cautious and well- 
considered experiment The practical problem is to 
devise a safe, promising, and instructive experiment. 
Such an experiment the Corporation have meant to try 
in opening the newly established University Courses of 
Instruction to competent women. In these courses, the 
University offers to young women who have been to 
good schools, as many years as they wish of liberal cul- 
ture in studies which have no direct professional value, 
to be sure, but which enrich and enlarge both intellect 
and character. The University hopes thus to contrib- 
ute to the intellectual emancipation of women. It 
hopes to prepare some women better than they would 
otherwise have been prepared for the profession of 
teaching, the one learned profession to which women 
have already acquired a clear title. It hopes that the 
proffer of this higher instruction will have some reflex 
influence upon schools for girls, — to discourage super- 
ficiality, and to promote substantial education. 

The governing bodies of the University are the 
Faculties, the Board of Overseers, and the Corpora- 
tion. The University as a place of study and in- 
struction is, at any moment, what the Faculties make 
it. The professors, lecturers, and tutors of the Uni- 
versity are the living sources of learning and enthu- 
siasm. They personally represent the possibilities 
of instruction. They are united in several distinct 
bodies, the academic and professional Faculties, each 
of which practically determines its own processes and 
rules. The discussion of methods of instruction is 



52 



the principal business of these bodies. As a fact, pro- 
gress comes mainly from the Faculties. This has been 
conspicuously the case with the Academic and Medi- 
cal Faculties during the last fifteen or twenty years. 
The undergraduates used to have a notion that the 
time of the Academic Faculty was mainly devoted to 
petty discipline. Nothing could be farther from the 
truth. The Academic Faculty is the most active, vigi- 
lant, and devoted body connected with the University. 
It indeed is constantly obliged to discuss minute de- 
tails, which might appear trivial to an inexperienced 
observer. But, in education, technical details tell. 
Whether German be studied by the Juniors once a 
week as an extra study, or twice a week as an elective, 
seems, perhaps, an unimportant matter; but, twenty 
years hence, it makes all the diiference between a gen- 
eration of Alumni who know German and a generation 
who do not. The Faculty renews its youth, through 
the frequent appointments of tutors and assistant pro- 
fessors, better and oftener than any other organization 
within the University. Two kinds of men make good 
teachers, — young men and men who never grow old. 
The incessant discussions of the Academic Faculty have 
borne much fruit: witness the transformation of the 
University since the beginning of President Walker's 
administration. And it never tires. New men take 
up the old debates, and one year's progress is not less 
than another's. The divisions within the Faculty are 
never between the old and the young officers. There 
are always old radicals and young conservatives. 

The Medical Faculty affords another illustration of 



53 



the same principle, — that for real University progress 
we must look principally to the teaching bodies. The 
Medical School to-day is almost three times as strong 
as it was fifteen years ago. Its teaching power is 
greatly increased, and its methods have been much 
improved. This gain is the work of the Faculty of 
the School. 

If then the Faculties be so important, it is a vital 
question how the quality of these bodies can be main- 
tained and improved. It is very hard to find compe- 
tent professors for the University. Very few Ameri- 
cans of eminent ability are attracted to this profession. 
The pay has been too low, and there has been no 
gradual rise out of drudgery, such as may reasonably 
be expected in other learned callings. The law of 
supply and demand, or the commercial principle that 
the quality as well as the price of goods is best 
regulated by the natural contest between producers 
and consumers, never has worked well in the province 
of high education. And in spite of the high standing 
of some of its advocates, it is well-nigh certain that 
the so-called law never can work well in such a field. 
The reason is, that the demand for instructors of the 
highest class on the part of parents and trustees is an 
ignorant demand, and the supply of highly educated 
teachers is so limited that the consumer has not sufii- 
cient opportunities of informing himself concerning 
the real qualities of the article he seeks. Originally 
a bad judge, he remains a bad judge, because the sup- 
ply is not sufficiently abundant and various to instruct 



54 



him. Moreover, a need is not necessarily a demand. 
Everybody knows that the supposed law affords a very 
imperfect protection against short weight, adultera- 
tion, and sham, even in the case of those commodities 
which are most abundant in the market and most 
familiar to buyers. The most intelligent community 
is defenceless enough in buying clothes and groceries. 
When it comes to hiring learning, and inspiration and 
personal weight, the law of supply and demand 
breaks down altogether. A university cannot be 
managed like a railroad or a cotton mill. 

There are, however, two practicable improvements 
in the position of college professors which will be of 
very good effect. Their regular stipend must and will 
be increased, and the repetitions which now harass 
them must be diminished in number. It is a strong 
point of the elective system, that by reducing the size 
of classes or divisions, and increasing the variety of 
subjects, it makes the professors' labors more agree- 
able. 

Experience teaches that the strongest and most de- 
voted professors will contribute something to the 
patrimony of knowledge ; or if they invent little them- 
selves, they will do something towards defending, 
interpreting, or diffusing the contributions of others. 
Nevertheless, the prime business of American profes- 
sors in this generation must be regular and assiduous 
class teaching. With the exception of the endow- 
ments of the Observatory, the University does not 
hold a single fund primarily intended to secure to 
men of learning the leisure and means to prosecute 
original researches. 



55 



The organization and functions of the Board of 
Overseers deserve the serious attention of all men v^ho 
are interested in the American method of providing the 
community with high education through the agency of 
private corporations. Since 1866 the Overseers have 
been elected by the Alumni. Five men are chosen 
each year to serve six years. The body has, therefore, 
a large and very intelligent constituency, and is rapidly 
renewed. The ingenious method of nominating to 
the electors twice as many candidates as there are 
places to be filled in any year is worthy of careful 
study as a device of possible application in politics. 
The real function of the Board of Overseers is to 
stimulate and watch the President and Fellows. With- 
out the Overseers, the President and Fellows would be 
a board of private trustees, self-perpetuated and self- 
controlled. Provided as it is with two governing 
boards, the University enjoys that principal safeguard 
of all American governments, — the natural antagonism 
between two bodies of different constitution, powers, 
and privileges. While having with the Corporation 
a common interest of the deepest kind in the welfare 
of the University and the advancement of learning, 
the Overseers should always hold towards the Cor- 
poration an attitude of suspicious vigilance. They 
ought always to be pushing and prying. It would be 
hard to overstate the importance of the public super- 
vision exercised by the Board of Overseers. Expe- 
rience proves that our main hope for the permanence 
and ever-widening usefulness of the University must 
rest upon this double-headed organization. The Eng- 



d6 



lish practice of setting up a single body of private 
trustees to carry on a school or charity according to 
the personal instructions of some founder or founders 
has certainly proved a lamentably bad one ; and when 
yve count by generations, the institutions thus estab- 
hshed have proved short-lived. The same causes 
which have brought about the decline of English 
endowed schools would threaten the life of this Uni- 
versity were it not for the existence of the Board of 
Overseers. These schools were generally managed 
by close corporations, self-elected, self-controlled, with- 
out motive for activity, and destitute of external stim- 
ulus and aid. Such bodies are too irresponsible for 
human nature. At the time of life at which men 
generally come to such places of trust, rest is sweet, 
and the easiest way is apt to. seem the best way ; and 
the responsibility of inaction, though really heavier, 
seems lighter than the responsibility of action. These 
corporations were often hampered by founders' wills and 
statutory provisions which could not be executed, and 
yet stood in the way of organic improvements. There 
was no systematic provision for thorough inspections 
and public reports thereupon. We cannot flatter our- 
selves that under like circumstances we should always 
be secure against like dangers. Provoked by crying 
abuses, some of the best friends of education in Eng- 
land have gone the length of maintaining that all 
these school endowments ought to be destroyed, and 
the future creation of such trusts rendered impossible. 
French law practically prohibits the creation of such 
trusts by private persons. 



57 



Incident to the Overseers' power of inspecting the 
University and publicly reporting upon its condition, 
is the important function of suggesting and urging 
improvements. The inertia of a massive University 
is formidable. A good past is positively dangerous, if 
it make us content with the present and so unprepared 
for the future. The present constitution of our Board 
of Overseers has already stimulated the Alumni of 
several other New-England colleges to demand a sim- 
ilar control over the property-holding board of Trustees 
which has heretofore been the single source of all au- 
thority. 

We come now to the heart of the University, — the 
Corporation. This board holds the funds, makes 
appointments, fixes salaries, and has, by right, the 
initiative in all changes of the organic law of the 
University. Such an executive board must be small 
to be efficient. It must always contain men of sound 
judgment in finance ; and literature and the learned 
professions should be. adequately represented in it. 
The Corporation should also be but slowly renewed ; 
for it is of the utmost consequence to the University 
that the Government should have a steady aim, and a 
prevailing spirit which is independent of individuals 
and transmissible from generation to generation. 
And what should this spirit be 1 First, it should be 
a catholic spirit. A University must be indigenous ; 
it must be rich ; but, above all, it must be free. The 
winnowing breeze of freedom must blow through all 
its chambers. It takes a hurricane to blow wheat 



58 



away. An atmosphere of intellectual freedom is the 
native air of literature and science. This University 
aspires to serve the nation by training men to intel- 
lectual honesty and independence of mind. The 
Corporation demands of all its teachers that they be 
grave, reverent, and high-minded ; but it leaves them, 
like their pupils, free. A University is built, not by 
a sect, but by a nation. 

Secondly, the actuating spirit of the Corporation 
must be a spirit of fidelity, — fidelity to the many and 
various trusts reposed in them by the hundreds of 
persons who out of their penury or their abundance 
have given money to the President and Fellows of 
Harvard College in the beautiful hope of doing some 
perpetual good upon this earth. The Corporation has 
constantly done its utmost to make this hope a living 
fact. One hundred and ninety-nine years ago, William 
Pennoyer gave the rents of certain estates in the 
County of Norfolk, Eng., that " two fellows and two 
scholars for ever should be educated, brought up, and 
maintained" in this College. The income from this 
bequest has never failed ; and to-day one of the four 
Pennoyer scholarships is held by a lineal descendant 
of William Pennoyer's brother Eobert. So a lineal 
descendant of Governor Danforth takes this year the 
income of the property which Danforth bequeathed to 
the College in 1699. The Corporation have been as 
faithful in the greater things as in the less. They 
have been greatly blessed in one respect, — in the 
whole life of the Corporation, seven generations of 
men, nothing has ever been lost by malefeasance of 



59 



officers or servants. A reputation for scrupulous 
fidelity to all trusts is the most precious possession of 
the Corporation. That safe, the College might lose 
every thing else and yet survive, — that lost beyond 
repair, and the days of the College would be num- 
bered. Testators look first to the trustworthiness and 
permanence of the body which is to dispense their 
benefactions. The Corporation thankfully receive all 
gifts which may advance learning ; but they believe that 
the interests of the University may be most efi'ectually 
promoted by not restricting too narrowly the use to 
which a gift may be applied. Whenever the giver de- 
sires it, the Corporation will agree to keep any fund 
separately invested under the name of the giver, and 
to apply the whole proceeds of such investment to any 
object the giver may designate. By such special invest- 
ment, however, the insurance which results from the 
absorption of a specific gift in the general funds is 
lost. A fund invested by itself may be impaired or 
lost by a smgle error of judgment in investing. The 
chance of such loss is small in any one generation, 
but appreciable in centuries. Such general designa- 
tions as salaries, books, dormitories, public buildings, 
scholarships, graduate or undergraduate, scientific col- 
lections, and expenses of experimental laboratories, 
are of permanent significance and efi'ect ; while expe- 
rience proves that too specific and minute directions 
concerning the application of funds must often fail 
of fulfilment, simply in consequence of the changing 
needs and habits of successive generations. 

Again, the Corporation should always be filled with 



60 



the spirit of enterprise. An institution like this Col- 
lege is getting decrepit when it sits down contentedly 
on its mortgages. On its invested funds the Corpora- 
tion should be always seeking how safely to make a 
quarter of a per cent more. A quarter of one per cent 
means a new professorship. It should be always 
pushing after more professorships, better professors, 
more land and buildings, and better apparatus. It 
should be eager, sleepless, and untiring, never wast- 
ing a moment in counting laurels won, ever prompt 
to welcome and apply the liberality of the community, 
and liking no prospect so well as that of difficulties to 
be overcome and labors to be done in the cause of 
learning and public virtue. 

You recognize, gentlemen, the picture which I 
have drawn in thus delineating the true spirit of the 
Corporation of this College. I have described the 
noble quintessence of the New-England character, 
— that character which has made us a free and en- 
lightened people, — that character which, please God, 
shall yet do a great work in the world for the lifting 
up of humanity. 

Apart from the responsibility which rests upon the 
Corporation, its actual labors are far heavier than the 
community imagines. The business of the University 
has greatly increased in volume and complexity dur- 
ing the past twenty years, and the draughts made 
upon the time and thought of every member of the 
Corporation are heavy indeed. The high honors of 
the function are in these days most generously earned. 



61 



The President of the University is primarily an 
executive officer ; but, being a member of both govern- 
ing boards and of all the Faculties, he has also the 
influence in their debates, to which his more or less 
perfect intimacy with the University and greater or 
less personal weight may happen to entitle him. An 
administrative officer who undertakes to do every thing 
himself, will do but little and that little ill. The Pres- 
ident's first duty is that of supervision. He should 
know what each officer's and servant's work is, and 
how it is done. But the days are past in which the 
President could be called on to decide every thing 
from the purchase of a door-mat to the appointment 
of a professor. The principle of divided and subor- 
dinate responsibilities, which rules in government 
bureaus, in manufactories, and all great companies, 
which makes a modern army a possibility, must be 
applied in the University. The President should be 
able to discern the practical essence of complicated 
and long-drawn discussions. He must often pick out 
that promising part of theory which ought to be tested 
by experiment, and must decide how many of things 
desirable are also attainable, and what one of many 
projects is ripest for execution. He must watch and 
look before, — watch, to seize opportunities to get 
money, to secure eminent teachers and scholars, and to 
influence public opinion towards the advancement of 
learning, — and look before, to anticipate the due efl'ect 
on the University of the fluctuations of public opinion 
on educational problems ; of the progress of the insti- 
tutions which feed the University ; of the changing 



62 



condition of the professions which the University sup- 
plies ; of the rise of new professions ; of the gradual 
alteration of social and religious habits in the com- 
munity. The University must accommodate itself 
promptly to significant changes in the character of 
the people for whom it exists. The institutions of 
higher education in any nation are always a faithful 
mirror in which are sharply reflected the national his- 
tory and character. In this mobile nation the action 
and reaction between the University and society at 
large are more sensitive and rapid than in stiffer com- 
munities. The President, therefore, must not need to 
see a house built before he can comprehend the plan 
of it. He can profit by a wide intercourse with all 
sorts of men, and by every real discussion on educa- 
tion, legislation, and sociology. 

The most important function of the President is 
that of advising the Corporation concerning appoint- 
ments, particularly about appointments of young men 
who have not had time and opportunity to approve 
themselves to the public. It is in discharging this 
duty that the President holds the future of the Uni- 
versity in his hands. He cannot do it well unless he 
have insight, unless he be able to recognize, at times 
beneath some crusts, the real gentleman and the natural 
teacher. This is the one oppressive responsibility of 
the President : all other cares are light beside it. To 
see every day the evil fruit of a bad appointment 
must be the crudest of ofiicial torments. Fortunately, 
the good effect of a judicious appointment is also 
inestimable ; and here, as everywhere, good is more 
penetrating and diffusive than evil. 



63 



It is imperative that the Statutes which define the 
President's duties should be recast, and the customs 
of the College be somewhat modified, in order that 
lesser duties may not crowd out the greater. But, 
however important the functions of the President, it 
must not be forgotten that he is emphatically a consti- 
tutional executive. It is his character and his judg- 
ment which are of importance, not his opinions. He 
is the executive ofiB.cer of deliberative bodies, in 
which decisions are reached after discussion by a ma- 
jority vote. Those decisions bind him. He cannot 
force his own opinions upon anybody. A University 
is the last place in the world for a dictator. Learn- 
ing is always republican. It has idols, but not mas- 
ters. 

What can the community do for the University] 
It can love, honor, and cherish it. Love it and 
honor it. The University is upheld by this public 
affection and respect. In the loyalty of her children 
she finds strength and courage. The Corporation, the 
Overseers, and the several Faculties need to feel that 
the leaders of public opinion, and especially the sons 
of the College, are at their back, always ready to give 
them a generous and intelligent support. Therefore 
we welcome the Chief Magistrate of the Common- 
wealth, the Senators, Judges, and other dignitaries of 
the State, who by their presence at this ancient cere- 
monial bear witness to the pride which Massachusetts 
feels in her eldest University. Therefore we rejoice 
in the presence of this throng of the Alumni, testify- 



64 



ing their devotion to the College which, through all 
changes, is still their home. Cherish it. This Uni- 
versity, though rich among American colleges, is very 
poor in comparison with the great universities of 
Europe. The wants of the American community have 
far outgrown the capacity of the University to supply 
them. We must try to satisfy the cravings of the 
select few as well as the needs of the average many. 
We cannot afford to neglect the Fine Arts. We need 
groves and meadows as well as barracks, and soon 
there will be no chance to get them in this expanding 
city. But, above all, we need professorships, books, 
and apparatus, that teaching and scholarship may 
abound. 

And what will the University do for the community? 
First, it will make a rich return of learning, poetry, 
and piety. Secondly, it will foster the sense of public 
duty, — that great virtue which makes republics possi- 
ble. The founding of Harvard College was an heroic 
act of public spirit. For more than a century the 
breath of life was kept in it by the public spirit of the 
Province and of its private benefactors. In the last 
fifty years the public spirit of the friends of the Col- 
lege has quadrupled its endowments. And how have 
the young men nurtured here in successive genera- 
tions repaid the founders for their pious care ] Have 
they honored freedom and loved their country 1 For 
answer we appeal to the records of the national ser- 
vice ; to the lists of the senate, the cabinet, and the 
diplomatic service, and to the rolls of the army and 



65 



navy. Honored men, here present, illustrate before 
the world the public quality of the graduates of this 
College. Theirs is no mercenary service. Other fields 
of labor attract them more and would reward them 
better ; but they are filled with the noble ambition to 
deserve well of the republic. There have been doubts, 
in times yet recent, whether culture were not selfish ; 
whether men of refined tastes and manners could 
really love Liberty, and be ready to endure hardness 
for her sake ; whether, in short, gentlemen would in 
this century prove as loyal to noble ideas, as in other 
times they had been to kings. In yonder old play- 
ground, fit spot whereon to commemorate the manliness 
which there was nurtured, shall soon rise a noble 
monument which for generations will give convincing 
answer to such shallow doubts ; for over its gates will 
be written, " In memory of the sons of Harvard who 
died for their country." The future of the University 
will not be unworthy of its past. 



ADDRESSES 



AT THE INAUGURATION OF 



CHARLES WILLIAM ELIOT 



PRESIDENT OF HARVARD COLLEGE, 



Tuesday, October 19, 1869. 




CAMBRIDGE : 
SEVER AND FRANCIS, 

BOOKSELLEKS TO THE UNIVERSITY, 

1869. 



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